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Running Head: BRUCE JENNERS GENDER DYSPHORIA !

Male or Female: Bruce Jenners Gender Dysphoria


Chalcey Polson
Denver School of Nursing

Running Head: BRUCE JENNERS GENDER DYSPHORIA !

Male or Female: Bruce Jenners Gender Dysphoria


Have you ever been in a situation where you felt uncomfortable and felt like you were not
yourself? Have you ever felt insecure in who you are? Well that is how transgenders feel
everyday. Bruce Jenner says that is how he has felt the majority of his life. In the Diane Sawyer
Bruce Jenner Special, Bruce Jenner officially came out as a transgender. In the special, Bruce
opened up about his struggle of figuring out who he is as a male and his interest in becoming a
female.
In the beginning of the interview, Bruce Jenner started off by saying, I have been
confused with my gender identity since I was this big (indicating him as a child). In another
way, he tells his struggle like this: God is looking down and making little Bruce. God looks
down and says What are we going to do with this one? Make him a smart kid, very determined,
with many other good qualities. And at the end when he is just finishing, He says Wait a second,
everyone has something that they have to deal with in their life, so what am I going to give this
one? God looks down and chuckles a little bit and says Hey lets give him the soul of a female,
and lets see how he deals with that. (Jenner, 2015)
A transgender/transsexual, also known as gender identity disorder, is defined as a person
who strongly identifies with the opposite sex (Black, 2004). The individual may identify with the
opposite sex to the point of believing that he or she, is in fact, part of that opposite sex who is
trapped in the wrong body. Bruce said in the special interview Here I am stuck... but I hate the
word, girl stuck in a guys body, because I am me. This is who I am as a person. My brain is
much more female than it is male (Jenner, 2015).

Running Head: BRUCE JENNERS GENDER DYSPHORIA !

Bruce being a part of the public eye for so many years: being a track and field Olympic
Champion, and a father of one of the most fashionable and most watched families on television,
the Kardashians, has made it a more difficult and interesting journey for him as a transgender.
People have come to believe that this is all just a stunt to get more ratings for the show, Keeping
Up with the Kardashians. However, that is not it at all. Bruce is opening up about his gender
identity for other people who are going through the same things as well. I believe we are going
to change the world says Bruce to Diane. In todays society, there are about 700,000 people in
the world that have trouble with gender identity in the United States (Paquette, 2015). With this
interview of him coming out as a transgender, he hopes he would open doors and create more
opportunities for other people who are going through the same thing that he is.
Many doors have been opening up for the LGBT community within the past few decades,
for example, in the Netflix show, Orange is the New Black, a transgender male turned female, is
one of the main characters of the show, Sophia Burset, played by Laverne Cox. Chers daughter
turned son, Chaz Bono, has been one of the most well-known transgenders of this day in age.
Alone, these transgenders have opened up career paths and have paved the road for others who
are following in their footprints. Today, being transgender is considered to be somewhat normal,
and is not considered to be a psychiatric disorder anymore. (Jenner, 2015) During the 1950s
and 1960s in the United States, transsexuals were viewed by society as people who were
mentally weird, immoral or just somewhat creepy. They were thrown out of many church
communities and some were even shunned by their own family and friends (Cook, 2014).
Nowadays, the view of transgenders are much more open and welcoming than they were in the
past.

Running Head: BRUCE JENNERS GENDER DYSPHORIA !

Growing up, Bruce Jenner knew something was different about him. By the time he was
around eight or nine years old, he would dance around his house when no one was home in his
sisters dresses. From then on, Jenner began to feel that the gender of his body, was different
than what he felt in his soul (Jenner, 2015). He says that he has always felt this way. Experts
say that it is normal for children to walk across gender lines growing up. However, only a small
percentage of children who display gender dysphoria characteristics may continue to show
leading to adolescence or adulthood. Especially for adolescents, going into puberty can lead
them over a cliff if they do not seek help. Untreated, undiagnosed, and unevaluated teenagers
and young adults, between the ages of 16 -25, forty-five percent of them will attempt
suicide (Jenner, 2015).
In children, many symptoms include an expression of desire to be the opposite sex; some
children even insist that they are a part of the opposite sex and ask their families to call them by
another name (Grohol, 2011). As a child, Bruce Jenner was interested in the opposite sex attire,
by cross dressing in secret, but was interested in boyish activities such as sports. Growing up,
Bruce used sports as his way to cope with his gender identity feelings. It was really hard for me,
because I always felt like a girl. (Jenner, 2015) This feeling still continued throughout
adolescence and into adulthood.
As an adult, Bruce began to have a much more difficult time with his gender dysphoria.
Being married to three different woman and having ten gorgeous kids, Bruce was been seen as
the man of the household. Secretly, Bruce kept his conflict private for about 35 years from the
public. As for his family, it was much harder for him to open up about his disorder because, I
could not bear to see my children hurt (Jenner, 2015). Now, after so many years of keeping his

Running Head: BRUCE JENNERS GENDER DYSPHORIA !

secret private, he opened up to his family recently and his family has become very welcoming
and supportive of his new lifestyle.
To sum things up, gender identity disorder is a real and serious problem. Although, we
dont know all of what may be the cause or causes of the feelings that may trigger them to feel
toward their assigned sex, we can however conclude that it is connected with a gender
irregularity that occurs within the first decade of childhood. We also know that when the
individuals sense of gender is established, it is unchangeable, because that is who the person
believes they are meant to be.

Running Head: BRUCE JENNERS GENDER DYSPHORIA !

References
[Special issue]. (2004). Gender Identity Disorder: A Misunderstood Diagnosis.
[Special issue]. (2013). Suicide Protective Factors Among Trans Adults. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1007/s10508-013-0099-8
[Special issue]. (2015). A Comparison of Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Sexual Risk
Behaviors Between Rural and Non-Rural Transgender Persons. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1080/00918369.2014.872502
Jenner, B. (2015, April 24). [Personal interview by D. Sawyer].
Paquette, D. (n.d.). 8 critical facts about the state of transgender America. Retrieved from The
Washington Post website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/
2015/01/22/the-state-of-transgender-america-massive-discrimination-little-data/